CAD Manager's Newsletter (#203)

9 Sep, 2008

CAD Manager Programming Topics, Part 1

If you've been thinking about learning programming but aren't sure whether you should, here's what you need to know.

A lot of CAD managers ask me about programming methods and how the ability to program can help or hinder their careers. I'll be devoting the next few newsletters to addressing some of these questions and sharing some programming tips and tricks that you can use to get control of your CAD environment, even if you know very little about programming now. Here goes.

Why Program At All?
So why should you program? Fair question, especially since you're already busy and would have trouble finding the time to do programming in the first place. I do feel strongly, though, that the ability to program is a huge plus for CAD managers, so let me tell you why I think the effort is worth the hassle.

It makes things easier for your users. Programming allows you to make complex processes easy via automation. Fewer keystrokes equal less work for the user equals greater user productivity. I've also found that automation reduces errors, thus making users even more productive.

It makes you more self-sufficient. If you do your own programming you won't be dependent on someone else and you'll be able to react faster to users' needs.

You will become more in demand. CAD managers who have programming skills command higher salaries and are pursued more aggressively at hiring time. Simply put, if you can program, you're a double threat and are thus more marketable. Read more »

:: CAD Manager’s Toolbox:
     Overcome Vista Vexation

Here's one way to deal with Vista's overactive security settings that keep you from being productive.

First, in response to my coverage of cool utilities in the past few newsletters, many of you wrote to share your own favorites. I'll be posting these utilities, plus other ones I've referred to, on my Tools page, so feel free to drop by and take a look. And for those of you who sent in the nice writeups, I'll be sending you a Cadalyst souvenir for your trouble. Thank you.

Ever have something that works perfectly on your XP workstations yet won't work on one running Vista? I have, plenty of times. Because the Vista operating system is much more picky about protecting its system folders and the C:\ directory, it can sometimes be a problem getting custom programs or utilities to work on Vista-equipped machines. And I don't know about you, but I'm seeing most CAD laptops running Vista now, so the problems must be dealt with.

So how do you debug these problems? Here's a trick that I've used with pretty good success. Read more »

Do you have a tip that I should know about? Send it to me at and if I use it in the newsletter, I'll send you a cool Cadalyst souvenir.

:: Resources Online Community
Deelip Menezes, SYCODE's founder and CEO, has launched, a social network for IntelliCAD users. has forums, a network blog, member groups, photos and videos, and information about events such as user meetings and tradeshows. Membership is free. Read more »

:: Events

ArcGIS 9.3 Seminars: Improving an Entire GIS Workflow
September 9 - November 13, 2008
Various U.S. Cities
These all-day seminars will allow GIS professionals and managers to get together and explore how ArcGIS 9.3 provides a comprehensive system that enhances an organization's operations. Read more »

SolidWorks 2009 Midwest Premiere Events
October 1-8, 2008
Various Upper Midwest Cities
Graphics Systems will host these events focusing on the release of SolidWorks 2009. The free seminars will also highlight several additional products that increase productivity and product quality for companies that design their own products. Read more »

Mapping for a Sustainable Future Workshops
October 6 - November 26, 2008
London and Birmingham, United Kingdom
Presented by Training4GIS, these one-day workshops will focus on how mapping can successfully be applied within sustainable planning and development. Three separate workshops will be offered: Carbon Mapping, 3D Mapping, and Flood Mapping. Read more »

SolidWorks 2009 Launch Events
October 8-16, 2008
Various California Cities
Sponsored by 3-D CADWARE, these events will let participants discover new tools for designing better product; learn to handle large, complex assemblies; network with fellow designers and engineers; and more. Read more »

Spatial 3D Insiders' Summit
October 13-14, 2008
Boulder, Colorado
The annual summit enables the Spatial user and prospect community to gain in-depth knowledge of Spatial components and have direct exchange with Spatial developers and executive management team. Read more »

PLM Summit North America 2008
October 13-14, 2008
St. Augustine, Florida
This three day gathering of cross-industry professionals will include keynote conference sessions and interactive workshops run by leading solution providers covering the length and breadth of the PLM spectrum. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on